The Best Ride On Toys for 1 Year Old & Young Toddlers

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If your 1 year old is as car/bus/train crazy as our one year old, you might have found yourself wondering whether it’s worth getting a ride-on toy to keep them busy. Best Ride on toys mentioned here work as a balance bike and can be great for improving balance skills, motor skills, strengthening your little one’s muscles, and having a lot of fun, too. We’ve rounded up the best ride on toys for 1 year old zoomers!

Best Choice

Best overall

The Best on a Budget

Little Tikes Push and Ride Racer

Fisher Price 3 in 1 Smart Car

Pewi Walk on Riding Toy

We did the research into the best toddler ride on toys, with a focus on younger toddlers from around 1-year-old. We came up with this list of what we consider to be worth the money.

For our family, we think the Little Baby Bum (LBB) Wheels on the Bus Scoot and Pewi Walk on Riding Toy are the best options. We love the Wheels on the Bus scoot because our daughter loves LBB and the bus songs. And we love the Pewi Y-Bike because of how it will support our daughter’s physical development.

However, we know not all toddlers are complete bus nuts. For that reason, we think the Little Tikes Push and Ride Racer is the best overall ride-on toy for 1 year olds. For most families, it offers great bang for buck and will serve your child for a couple of years, using it first as a push-walker until your child is ready to straddle the toy and push it forward with their feet.

If you’re looking for a more traditional stroller or a tricycle with a push handle or without, we’ve also written about that – just not in this article!

The Best Riding Toys for 1 Year Olds

Here are all the toys we considered, with more information about each below.

Little Tikes Push and Ride Racer

Best Overall Walker to Rider

With the Little Tikes Push and Ride Racer, you get a riding toy and push walker in one product. This makes it one of the best cars for babies who aren’t yet walking on their own, while also acting like their walking buddy and growing with them over time. Your child will enjoy its versatility indoors and out as he learns to discover the world around him with independence.

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Little Tikes’ Push and Ride Racer is a push and ride on car with a low seat, giving your toddler easy on-and-off access to ride. The low height also means it won’t tip over easily.

When your child uses it in “push mode,” the seatback is high enough to comfortably grab on, helping your child maintain balance on this balance bike while working towards those first few steps.

At less than seven pounds, these balance bikes are a good choice for at home and taking to the park or playground. The sturdy handle and wheels make it a breeze to maneuver around furniture or the playground, and on tile, carpet or grass. It holds up to 50 pounds, making it a toy your child can use as she grows.

Suitable for kids from about 9 months to 3 years.

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Fisher Price 3 in 1 Smart Car

Runner Up (Walker to Rider)

The Fisher Price 3 in 1 Smart Car is a walker, stationary sit-on bouncer, balance bike, and ride-on toy. It has plenty of buttons, lights, songs, and sounds to entertain your child as they practice gross and fine motor skills and balance skills.

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As your child grows, this ride-on toy is designed to offer different levels of educational content through sounds, songs, and phrases in English and Spanish. Your child will be exposed to the alphabet, numbers, opposites, and more. The interactive dashboard has a wheel that turns, a horn that honks, and numerous buttons that light up.

The battery-operated Smart Car has plastic wheels that can glide on hardwood floors, carpeted surfaces, and grass. It is best suited for children aged nine months to three years.

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Pewi Walk on Riding Toy

Best Ride-on Bike for Toddlers

The Pewi Walk On Riding Toy is a 2-in-1 that can be used as a push ride-on toy for young toddlers, a balance bike, and as a kid-powered rider for older kids. Both uses are designed to help your child with balance, strength, and coordination, and they can accommodate kids up to age three years / 44 pounds.

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The PEWI Walk On Riding Toy is a fun alternative to a peddle-less push bike or scooter till your kids start riding. Its seat lifts with a soft foam pad and easy-grip plastic handles. The rotating wheels allow the toy to be pushed in any direction without leaving marks on your floors. And the “Y” design has a narrower wheelbase in the back, allowing enough legroom for older kids, and a wide front base for stability.

The light weight aluminum frame allows it to come in at under 4 pounds and makes it versatile for transport. Its weight is much lighter than other ride on toys. It’s available in pink, blue, or red, and is suited to level, smooth surfaces indoors or out.

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Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll N Trike

Runner Up (Ride-on Bike for Toddlers)

The Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll N Trike ride-on trike has several modes, and can be adjusted to to fit a child from nine months to five years, and up to 50 pounds.

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This ride-on toy starts out as an infant trike, suitable for 9 to 18-month olds. A canopy keeps the sun out off their face, and a footrest, adjustable seat back, safety tray, cup holder and three-point harness ensure safety and comfort for the littlest riders.

As your toddler grows, you can remove the canopy, footrest and tray, and adjust the seat heights to convert this ride-on toy to a steering trike (18 months to 2 years), learn-to-ride trike (2 to 3 years), and classic trike (3+).

The trike also changes from parent controlled steering wheel to child controlled steering wheel by removing a parent push toy bar.

If your toddler hates sitting in their buggy, this could be a good alternative to get them into a seat so you can run errands or get from Point A to B.

The product weighs about 16 pounds and, with its wide rear tires, is intended for use outdoors.

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Step2 Whisper Ride

Best for Imaginative Driving Play

The Step2 Whisper Ride is a parent-push kids car. You control the direction and speed, while allow your child to engage in some imaginative play at driving a real car, with something that may be more engaging than a steering wheel toy.

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Step2 ride-on kids cars have some fun features  of a real car so your little one enjoys a semi-realistic driving experience. They can spin the steering wheel and honk the horn. There’s space in the dashboard and under the front hood for snacks and small toys. And the headlights, tires, bumper, and grill all add to the cuteness of this push car for toddlers.

The push handle is a good height for the average man or woman and has a cupholder for mom or dad’s coffee or drink.

Available in pink or blue, this push car is recommended for children up to 50 pounds and between the ages of 18 months and four years. The safety seat belt will keep your child snug. The steering wheel turns but, because it’s not connected to the wheels, so your child can not inadvertently steer the product.

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Fisher Price Stride to Ride Puppy

Best for Young Babies

Another walker-to-ride-on conversion toy, this adorable puppy plays music and lights up. Suitable as a walker from around nine months, a younger toddler might enjoy “feeding” the puppy through the three shape sorting openings.

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With a flip of its hinged seat, the Fisher Price Stride To Ride Puppy converts from a rider to a walker. The cuddle-worthy face moves around, the soft floppy ears wiggle and the nose and collar light up as your child pushes or scoots. The toy will also play sounds, utter phrases, speak greetings, and teach manners in English and Spanish.

For babies who aren’t walking, the product has a shape sorter and big, easy-to-press buttons to help them stay entertained. The plastic wheels make it suitable for indoors or outdoors.

As the wheels aren’t great at turning, this toy is probably best suited to older babies and younger toddlers and is a great riding toy.

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Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

Best for Older Toddlers

The Little Tikes Cozy Coupe is ideal for pushing your toddler around the living room or park. The push car can be used at home or on the sidewalk, and converts to using kid-power (their feet) once your kids are old enough to use it without mom or dad’s help.

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At less than 18 pounds, this ride-on kids car can be pushed or pulled using the handle at back. The car-like features include a driver’s side door that opens, ignition, gas cap, steering wheel, and cup holders. You’ll appreciate the front wheels that rotate 360 degrees for easy maneuvering.

When the floor is removed, your toddler can use foot power to get around. Older kids may enjoy the storage space for storing snacks. The storage compartment can also be used to store toys in the rear. The car is appropriate for children less than 50 pounds and under the age of five. Much bigger than this, and the fit may be too snug.

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Little Baby Bum Wheels on the Bus Scoot

Best Ride On Bus Toy

Our daughter LOVES Little Baby Bum’s buses. Whether your little one loves LBB, or is a bus nut more generally, this ride-on bus toy is sure to be a huge hit. A versatile push-walker and sit-and-scoot toy, this toy will last from  around 1 to 3 years old.

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This ride-on bus / car for babies has many real bus features. These include a steering wheel, ignition switch, and turn signals that light up. Your child is sure to enjoy the animated face, which has moving eyes and wiggling windshield wiper eyebrows. With a push of a button, your child can enjoy some of LBB’s most popular songs. Sing along to Wheels On The Bus, 10 Little Buses, and the Color Bus song. Storage under the seat provides space for snacks and toys.

This bus starts out as a push walker, and transitions to a ride-on toy when your little one is ready. The car is recommended for children less than 50 pounds and between one and three years old.

Battery operated, it weighs 8 pounds.

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Power Wheels Thomas and Friends

Best Ride On Train Toy

The Thomas and Friends Power Wheels is a ride-on toy that can be used with or without the accompanying 18 feet of train track. The best ride-on toy for choo choo and Thomas loving toddlers, your little one is likely to find hours of entertainment riding on the famous engine!

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This ride-on train toy accommodates one rider at a time and is powered by a long-lasting rechargeable six-volt battery. Your toddler can easily control the train with the push-button on and off control. The train also has an easy-grip handle and footrest.

Kids as young as 12 months can round the tracks, and older kids can use the train as a stand-alone rider. Your toddler can listen to the unique sounds and sayings of Thomas as she rounds the tracks or living room.

The train can reach a maximum of one mile per hour on the track and two miles per hour without the track. The tracks can be set up on any indoor flat surface.

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Mickey and Friends Activity Ride on Toy

Best for Mickey Fans

This Mickey and Friends ride on toy is a toddler walker-rider combo. The Mickey Mouse theme will appeal to young and older kids alike.

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This car-like ride-on toy has many attributes of a real car, like a working steering wheel, an ignition key that “turns on” the engine, and a horn that honks. Your toddler can turn the colorful gears on the front of the car, press the keyboard to play music, and pretend to make calls on the play phone.

The tires have good grip, making the car suitable for indoorba and outdoor play. The seat also has a fair amount of storage space underneath for putting snacks, layers, and other toys.

This toy is battery-operated, and appropriate for a child one year or older.

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Little Tikes Whale Teeter Totter

Best Playground Toy

A ride-on whale that makes a great addition to your playroom, the Little Tikes Whale Teeter Totter rocks back and forth. It can be used by one to three children at a time, from the ages of one up to three years, and can be used indoor or out.

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A fun twist on car ride on toys, this whale teeter totter is adorable and fun! With eyes on its head and a tail, this product resembles a cute sea creature. It has handles that are easy to hold onto and footrests wide enough for even older kids up to 50 pounds. This sturdy toy can be used indoors or outdoors. Together with an outdoor swing, it makes a great at-home playground addition.

The product weighs around 1.2 pounds, making it easy to move around your house or transport in the car. It’s made from a single piece of plastic, so you don’t have to worry about pinched fingers or trapped hands from moving parts.

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How to Choose From the Best Toddler Ride On Toys

What Exactly are Riding Toys for 1 Year Olds?

Most one-year-olds aren’t even walking yet, which begs the question: why on earth do they need a riding toy? It’s a fair question, but one we think

While riding toys for older kids are more geared (see what I did there?) towards imaginative and independent play – something kids can do all by themselves – ride on toys and cars for babies usually require a bit more parent involvement, and generally are more flexibly to meet your child’s needs as they grow and blow past developmental milestones of the age group, like going from a crawler to a walker.

Of the 11 ride on toys on our list, an impressive 9 are highly convertible as your child grows and becomes more independent. A full 6 of the toys on our list work both as a push walker (something your little one can hold on to and push as they work towards the strength and coordination needed for unsupported steps) and a ride-on toy: Little Tikes Push and Ride Racer, Fisher Price Stride to Ride Puppy, Fisher Price 3 in 1 Smart Car, Pewi Walk on Riding Toy, Mickey and Friends Activity Ride on Toy, and Little Baby Bum Wheels on the Bus Scoot.

This offers parents great bang-for-buck, as most of these toys will last your child from those first few supported walking steps until they’re three or so.

What are the Benefits of a Ride On Toy for Toddlers?

To start with, A ride on toy is a lot of fun and kids also have their first fun ride after they learn to ride it. It will give your child a sense of freedom, especially once they’re able to “drive”  their own special car for kids by themselves (while supervised, of course).

Additionally,  these types of toys can help your child:

  • A ride on toy can develop leg and core strength
  • A ride on toy can improve their gross motor skills by using their feet to propel the car forward, using it as a walker, etc
  • Aride on toy can tune their fine motor skills by using the dials and buttons that come along with many models
  • A kid can grasp relationships with a ride on toy between their actions and the results of those, using it as a cause and effect toy
  • With a ride on toy a kid is able to engage in imaginative play at driving, similar to when playing with steering wheel toys

What to Consider When Purchasing Ride-On Toys for Toddlers?

As any parent who has been on the receiving end of their toddler’s out-of-the-blue temper tantrum can attest, toddlers are very special. On the one hand, they know they can do so many things, and they want to try it all. On the other hand, they’re not equipped to handle a lot of those things yet.

As parents, we try to walk the fine line between allowing our toddler to take  “controlled risks” and keeping her safe. And ride-on toys are absolutely perfect for this!

So what do you need to think about if  you’re considering a riding toy for your little  one?

  • Size:  This one’s pretty self explanatory, but if your little one is on  the shorter end of the spectrum, they may not be able to reach the floor on some traditional ride-ons that require they straddle a seat, like a bike. 
  • Core Strength: It takes toddlers awhile to develop their core strength enough to be able to stay sitting up (and not get knocked over) when in motion. If this is a concern, get one of the ride-on toys with  a seat back, to ensure your little one is stable and supported.
  • Safety: This, of course, is of primary concern. Be sure to read  the manufacturers instructions and warnings before use, and only use the toy as intended and according to instructions and guidelines. We recommend inspecting it before every use to ensure screws are tight and the toy is safe to use.
  • Challenge vs Fun: In our opinion, all the ride-on toys in this list can be a lot of fun! However, some will provide more imaginative play (for example, the more realistic-looking Step2 Whisper Ride car) and some will provide more physical challenge (for example,  Pewi Walk on Riding Toy). As a parent, it’s up to you to decide what you want to focus on, and choose from the best ride-on toys for your little one.

Our Picks

We love this list of ride-on toys because there are a ton of great options here. If you’re stills stuck for deciding on the best, here’s what we suggest:

We hope our research helps you decide. If you know another parent, grandparent, or caregiver who wants to get their little one a ride-on toy, we hope you’ll share this list!

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